Jon Fitch (25-6-1) was set to face off against World Series of Fighting welterweight champion, Rousimar Palhares on July 5th at WSOF 11, however Palhares’s mother had to undergo a complicated surgery and the champion decided to pull out of the title bout to take care of her.
Then Fitch was slated to face fellow UFC number 1 welterweight title contender, Jake Shields, but Shields too had to exit the scheduled affair due to succumbing an injury to his shoulder.
“It sucks.” Fitch said, “It would’ve been exciting, but he hurt his shoulder and you can’t ignore an injury like that, this kind of stuff just happens. Me and Jake are both from the Bay area and we’ve had a couple of wrestling matches, he won one by submission and I won the other on points like a decade ago. We’ve also trained together a lot as well. Between Rousimar and Jake, we had to shift our game-plan a bit but you focus on training, don’t get caught up on the details really and keep moving forward.”
Jon was an elite welterweight in the UFC for about 8 years, going 14-3-1 and attaining win streaks of 8 then another of 5 in a row. Fitch also has the UFC record for strikes landed at 2,149.
But those numbers couldn’t add up to the number that counts the most.
“The UFC said they couldn’t afford me, it was all up to them in the end, I thought I was pretty cheap so that’s kind of depressing.”
Since his departure Jon Fitch has gone 1-1 in The World Series of Fighting, winning his most recent bout against Marcelo Alfaya via unanimous decision at WSOF 6.
His debut however, was a different story.
In a rematch 7 years in the making, Josh Burkman (27-10) defeated Fitch via guillotine in the first round at WSOF 3. Jon had won their previous bout by rear naked choke in the 2nd at UFN 4 in 2006.
Now Fitch has the opportunity to claim the rubber match at WSOF 11.
“I’m excited, it sucks to lose one big fight, but as long as you have another big fight it’s ok. It’s on NBC and it’s not for the strap but I will be able to scrub that loss from my record a bit. The loss made me wake up, so much happened in a short period of time. I got dropped from the UFC after 1 loss. My head was in the wrong place but it helped me re-examined and re-focus on what I wanted to do in my career.”
Jon feels he’s in a better place now mentally and plans on emulating a shark in the 3rd bout between the two gladiators.
“I had to calm my mind and have a better focus on the fight and on him (Burkman). I was kind of reckless and eager to get the fight over with instead of really focusing on the fight. I plan on putting a lot of deep pressure on Josh, I want to drag him out to deep water and drown him, I have a lot of respect for Josh, but this is about me, I have to redeem myself and show everybody that I’m still the best in the sport.”
Be sure to tune in to NBC Sports Network on July 5th at 8 pm EST and watch as Jon Fitch seeks redemption for his first WSOF defeat and looks to claim his place at the top of the 170 pound division.